Kolkata: Clashes once again broke out in North 24 Parganas’ Bhatpara when a three-member BJP delegation, led by former Union minister SS Ahluwalia, arrived in the trouble-torn region on Saturday. The central team also comprised newly-elected MPs and former police officers Satyapal Singh and BD Ram.
A group of people, suspected to be BJP supporters, raised slogans of “Bengal Police haye haye”, “Mamata Banerjee haye haye”, forcing the police to use batons to disperse the crowd.
The visit by the central delegation came a day after two people were killed and 11 injured in clashes between two groups believed to be affiliated to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the saffron party. The team of ministers, who were also accompanied by Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, claimed that the two had lost their lives in police firing.
“We spoke to the family members and locals. We got portions of spent self-loading rifle (SLR) bullets used by the police on Thursday to shoot the BJP workers,” Ahluwalia said.
“The police is saying they fired in the air. If they had done that, how can it hit humans?” he asked. “We will submit our detailed report to party president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He is concerned with the ongoing violence in the area.”
However, the police and the ruling TMC called the observation baseless. Party secretary general Partha Chatterjee said the BJP delegation’s visit was aimed at increasing tension in the area.
“What is the purpose of their visit? he asked. “Section 144 has been in force in the area, but the BJP is visiting there. The police should have taken action against them for violating Section 144.”
A senior officer said the BJP leadership had taken prior permission for the visit.
Moments after the three-member BJP delegation left the area, two groups, one led by the BJP and other by the TMC, engaged in a pitched battle as both sides hurled country-made bombs and stones at each other. Several persons were injured in the incident.
Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma later said the situation had been brought under control, news agency ANI reported. “The police is patrolling the area. As Section 144 is imposed here police have chased away people gathered in a place. We have registered cases and an investigation is underway.”
— ANI (@ANI) June 22, 2019
Two people had died and 11 injured in clashes in Bhatpara between the groups suspected to be attached to TMC and BJP on Thursday. Section 144 has been imposed by the administration in the wake of the clashes.
Earlier in the day, a joint delegation of CPI(M) and Congress headed by Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan and CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty visited the troubled areas of Baruipara, Jagaddal, Bhatpara. They demanded a CBI inquiry into the killings.
On Friday, the BJP leadership had also demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident to bring out the truth.
A TMC citadel for long, Bhatpara has been witnessing frequent post-poll violence between the rival parties.
The fight intensified ever since TMC MLA Arjun Singh crossed over to the BJP and was elected to Lok Sabha from Barrackpore. Bhatpara comes under the Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency.
In the bypolls to the Bhatpara Assembly seat that were held along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh’s son Pawan Singh had defeated TMC candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.
(With PTI inputs)
Several Injured in Clashes between BJP ‘Supporters’ and Police during Central Team’s Visit to Bhatpara – News18